The day before the day

There were dire predictions for the weather today, but it’s turned out lovely and sunny. Just as well, as today is the day before the AFL grand final, and the occasion for the big grand final parade.

For most Victorians today is a public holiday. I’m working, but that’s okay. It always feels a bit easier on days like today, and being paid 2 or 3 times the going rate helps plenty.
I went to the market at lunchtime. It’s a different crowd today. People from all over Australia, but mostly from the western suburbs of Melbourne, congregating in town in anticipation of the big game tomorrow. There were people everywhere in club colours, young and old, and for every person in the red and white of the Swans there were 6-8 in the red, white and blue of the Bulldogs. I’m neutral, but there’s something heart-warming to see so many people wearing their heart on their sleeve (or around their neck and on their back…). Hope abounds. Everyone is excited and happy. Right now anything is possible. Come tomorrow night only one possibility will be true.

 I was initially a sceptic when it was proposed that it should be a public holiday today. I’ve got nothing against public holidays, it’s just that I had so many memories of Friday before the game. As a matter of course I would attend the parade in my lunch hour, and I always reckoned that the Friday night before the game was one of the best drinking nights of the year. The crowd was vibrant and varied and I didn’t want to lose that. I half expected the parade to become a dud. It’s only been 2 years, but the opposite is true.

 It’s lovely to see so many families journey in together to watch the parade. This is exactly what Daniel Andrews predicted. It was not possible before because the bread-winners were out earning bread. Now they have the time off to be with their families to do this. It’s given the day a whole different flavour, and I welcome it. (And I know many families who have taken the occasion to go away for the weekend together).

As it is I went out for a drink last night. I went to one of the better bars around town, the Union Electric, where I had a quick couple of cocktails with Donna. It was busy and cheerful. It was great to out and about. Though I’ve lived these moments a thousand times before, I yearned for more. I still do. I’m happy for small mercies, all the same.

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